Before the other weekend, I had never visited Phoenix. For one reason, I hate to travel. For another, I don’t know a soul there. So why bother?
But recently, my cousin, Randy, got married in Phoenix, his new bride Ranee’s hometown. So being a good cousin, I hopped a Southwest flight to what I now believe is the driest place on Earth. Within two hours of landing, I was sucking down water (and beer) and applying enough lip balm to lubricate a fleet of diesels.
I learned that I’ll never live in that place. It’s just unnatural to be that dry, that brown. While I was there, I had the opportunity to chat with my West Coast cousins about their futures and what they imagined would be their dream locales. Without hesitation, they each declared their loyalty to all things California.
Of course, as an East Coaster born and raised, I could not imagine the benefits of such a Western inclination. But it got me thinking about place — and of the people we are incompatible with simply because of the places they call home.
I might meet a woman who could steal my heart, but the second she said she couldn’t wait to get back to Phoenix, I would have to call it off. Where is the future? Someone who bleeds for the desert is going to have a hard time with the humid life on the East Coast, especially in Florida.
We all like to think that true love conquers all, but I beg to differ. True love is the foundation that allows a couple to build a life. True love is the basis for a lasting relationship. It does not, however, bring the ocean to the desert. It does not crumble mountains into plains or turn forests into lakes.
Compromise for the sake of true love is what conquers all. When a man who withers in the desert meets a woman who sweats in the swamp, they must find neutral ground on which to build their lives.
This analogy bears out across the spectrum of relationships. No one who truly wants to be in a partnership can expect to win all the battles. True love is merely the catalyst that allows for the greatest occurrences of compromise. For the one you love, you will do all but the most painful things to ensure her happiness. In return, you expect the same.
But can, say, a country-western guy marry and be happy with a rock ‘n’ roll girl? I think so. With love comes respect — not just respecting the facets of a person you find truly great but also respecting her opinions when you think they’ve fallen off the deep end. You have to respect the fact that not every detail of life needs to be totally agreed upon and realize that, when these differences intersect, it’s a good time for compromise.
I can say for sure that I will never inhabit a place like Phoenix for longer than a weekend. I loved the weekend, but the city is not for me, so I could never force myself to live there. If I were to fall for a woman who couldn’t stand living in the Central Florida swamps, I’d have to relinquish any expectations I had of staying in this paradise forever. Because that’s what compromise is about.
Compromise, respect conquer all when deciding where to live.